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Appearance eXchange Format (AxF)

Appearance eXchange Format (AxF)

The Digital Twin of A Physical Material

Appearance Exchange Format - AxF

Design with Confidence and Communicate with Ease

AxF files provide a way to capture, store, edit, and communicate complex material characteristics using numerical data throughout the digital design workflow.

The Challenge

Capturing material appearance data in a single, editable, portable file format is an obstacle in the virtualization of products, especially when different formats are used in parallel. This poses an issue when consistency in appearance must be achieved. AxF is the first format designed for system-independent communication of digital appearance.

The Solution

AxF delivers a standardized format for communicating material appearance data. It is used with a variety of CAD, PLM, and 3D rendering solutions. AxF is used in product design, development, manufacturing, sales and marketing. It is an industry first, and is helping brands reduce cycle time, control cost and ensure consistency in color and appearance.

AxF Material Rendering
Photorealistic Material Representation Real World Integration

AxF is a vendor-neutral appearance format. It is scalable, ensuring efficient access for large data; and extensible, extensions can be defined without harming existing support in 3rd party applications.

Accelerate Time to Market Consistent and Accurate

An AxF file supports communication of optical characteristics that can be used with and combined in PANTORA. With more accurate material capture, stakeholders can make key decisions about color and material earlier and with confidence.

Store and Share Store and Share

A standard way to store and share appearance data, including color, texture, gloss, refraction, transparency, special effects (sparkles) and reflection properties, across PLM, CAD, and state-of-the art rendering applications.

Try AxF

Within our sample files (downloadable below), you'll find the following examples:

Quartz Stone


Black, Large Grain Leather

Purple Forest Leather

Red and Green Plaid

Fill out the form below to get your free AxF sample files!

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Looking for more samples?

Additional AxF sample files can be found on our AxF Sample Library page. Each additional sample contains an AxF material, a sample rendering in a default environment and extra maps as noted for testing. Variations include SVBRDF, CarPaint, and BTF.

Explore More Samples

Pantora AxF Viewer

Pantora AxF Viewer allows users to visualize and swap 3D materials in a controlled scene with real-time rendering. No need to be an expert in computer graphics. Just drag-and-drop materials. Change the lighting to see how a material would look under different conditions. It is easy to use and it is free.

Get AxF Viewer

Applications with AxF Support

Applications with AxF Support

AxF: Part of the TAC Workflow Solution


Capturing exact appearance characteristics is critical to improving quality and speeding up time to market for products, factories, transport and infrastructure. The TAC7 Scanner’s physically accurate measurements mean that the virtual material has the same optical properties of its physical counterpart under any lighting condition and in any scenario, enabling reuse of materials across multiple product lines and product variations.

In addition to the TAC7 Scanner, AxF is now compatible with our flagship products, enabling more possibility to capture difficult-to-measure appearance characteristics and manage combined data in a mixed environment.

  • MetaVue VS3200: When using MetaVue VS3200, AxF facilitates multi-spectral texture measurements at the pixel level, enabling users to simplify texture measurements.
  • MA-T12: Using AxF with the MA-T12 equips users to visualize textured samples like flake texture and color flop.
  • Ci7000 Series: AxF opens up capabilities with the Ci7000 benchtop series to capture transmission of color on translucent materials and reflection color on highly spectral materials.
Request a Demo


PANTORA acts as a controlling hub among all components by creating digital material input sources with output destinations such as third-party rendering software and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Systems. Using the new Variant Editor to combine sample attributes, material suppliers can easily offer digital libraries and create variants of AxF materials using one or more of the following variation functions:

  • Transfer surface structure
  • Transfer roughness to volumetric
  • Transfer color via luminance / chroma split
  • Transfer coating layer
  • Replace base layer
  • Convert to uniform representation
Request a Demo

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